CHESTERFIELD — The Chesterfield County Coordinating Council is sponsoring a free clinic on expungement and pardon to be held July 19, 2011, at 6 p.m., at Chesterfield County Department of Social Service Community Room, 201 North Page Street (enter building from the Mill Street side), in Chesterfield. This free session is open to anyone interested in learning more about expungement and pardon.
All agencies that provide services to clients who may have barriers to self sufficiency because of criminal records or individuals interested in obtaining information on expungement or pardons are encouraged to attend. This is a free clinic offered by the Chesterfield County Coordinating Council, SC Legal Services, Fourth Circuit Solicitors Office, and Department of Social Services. .
Cliff McBride, Senior Staff Attorney, South Carolina Legal Services, will present the workshop. He will furnish information on the cost of filing, how an individual can request an expungement without the assistance of an attorney and criteria for expungement and pardons. Mr. McBride has many years of experience in this field and has worked extensively with the Solicitors Office and other law enforcement agencies. Representatives from the Solicitors Office and other Law Enforcement agencies will also be on hand to assist Mr. McBride with the clinic. Time will be allowed following the presentation for individuals who have question pertaining to any concerns they may have relating to their records. All inquiries will be handled on a personal and confidential basis.
Expungement is only available in a limited set of circumstances. Some of the circumstances include successful completion of PTI (Pre-Trial Intervention), Fraudulent Checks- first offense only, Simple Possession of Marijuana- first offense only.
Having records expunged means the State forgives and completely forgets about the crime after the debt to society has been paid. The conviction is erased from your record as if it never happened. It should no longer serve as a barrier to employment and other services.
A pardon, on the other hand, is when the State forgives you for your crime; however the crime is not removed from your criminal record. A pardon entitles you to a restoration of certain privileges that may have been suspended as the result of a conviction. A pardon is forgiveness from the State but does not mean that a private entity has to forgive you or restore the same privileges.
Catherine Thompson co-organizer of this event and Board member of the Coordinating Council said, “We are so privileged to have Mr. McBride present this information. He understands the needs of individuals who require these services but cannot afford the cost of an attorney. South Carolina Legal Services is a valuable resource for our county, especially during these hard economic times. One of the most severe consequences of past convictions that could be expunged is the barrier to employment or entering training services, such as the medical field.
Our goal is to assist every individual in Chesterfield County to remove any barriers, especially barriers to employment, to be job ready when the economy does pick up.
More information on South Carolina Legal Services may be obtained by visiting their website at www.sclegal.org.